BBH New York didn't go into 2011 under the best of circumstances--in fall of 2010, chief creative officer Kevin Roddy departed the shop due to a "creative conflict," then, the contract with one of its largest clients, Cadillac, expired, with the agency losing the $270 million account after the arrival of new GM CMO Joel Ewanick.
Yet new additions to the agency's leadership introduced a new kind of creative heft. In May AgencyTwoFifteen's John Patroulis, who previously helped steer the celebrated Halo "Believe" campaign and other notable work for Xbox, signed on as chief creative officer. The agency also added ECD Ari Weiss, former CD at 180 L.A., and former JWT CD Tim Nolan, now creative director of BBH Labs.
And then, of course, there's the work, which qualified as some of the best of the year. Under the continuing stewardship of Calle Sjoenell, who in May was promoted from ECD to deputy CCO, the agency set a new, emotional bar for tech advertising with longtime partner Google. "The Web Is What You Make of It" campaign, conceived out of New York with iterations across its global network, put a very human face on the brand's messages, continuing the flavor of the brand's Super Bowl breakout of 2010, "Parisian Love Story," created in-house. The Chrome-promoting "Dear Sophie" could easily qualify as tear-jerker of the year. It chronicled a father's letters, videos and messages to his growing baby girl--all created with various Google tools, of course. "It Gets Better," showcased Dan Savage's project to give encouragement to LGBT teens and also featured Lady Gaga (who better to speak to the masses?) using Chrome to communicate with her fans.
On the IP front, the agency's Zag arm introduced Playground Sessions, a downloadable music education software, testament that shops that stand out do great work beyond client-based advertising.